The Times moves to 5-day print schedule Dec. 24

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The Times (Gainesville, Ga.) this week announced it will be making significant changes in its printed editions by the end of the year.

As of Dec. 24, The Times will no longer have printed Monday or Tuesday editions, moving to a five-day-per-week print cycle.

Content will continue to be produced and posted digitally seven days a week, and subscribers will continue to have full digital access to fresh content daily.

"The news industry is changing worldwide, and we have to change with it to remain a viable business," said Times owner Charles Hill Morris Jr. "Our focus moving forward is to continue to have the most credible and in-depth news reporting available anywhere in our North Georgia area, but cost factors demand that we make a change in our method of delivery."

Print subscribers will continue to receive the Times on a Wednesday through Sunday delivery schedule.

"We are not cutting back on our news coverage. We will continue to post and update stories digitally every day. The digital platform allows our news content to be more timely, and it is increasingly preferred by some customers," said Norman Baggs, general manager of The Times.

"We know there are many people who prefer a printed edition and we are going to do everything we can to keep those subscribers happy. Our intent is that we will produce more robust printed papers with more content and features, only on a shorter distribution cycle."

The rising cost of production, difficulty in finding reliable carriers, and changing advertising trends were all factors in the decision to eliminate two days of production and delivery.

"For decades in the newspaper industry, advertising revenues allowed subscribers to pay less than it actually cost to print and deliver the papers they received. Today that's no longer the case. While we continue to have many strong advertising partners supporting our printed newspapers, others are more interested in other alternatives," said Baggs.

The reduction in print days does not mean a lessening of The Times commitment to serving the community by providing it with quality news and information content.

"We are doing more than we have ever done to provide our customers with the information they need, in the manner they prefer. We are reaching more people than ever, through our digital postings on gainesvilletimes.com, social media, podcasts, community events, specialty newsletters and our emailed newsletters. This move lets us allocate our resources in the best possible manner to better meet the needs of subscribers and advertisers," said Baggs.

Morris said the decision is one that allows The Times to continue to meet community needs in the future.

"Across the nation, newspapers are closing because the cost of production has outpaced incoming revenue. We think the job we do in providing informed content to the community is vital and must continue; this move will help us to assure that it does. Our commitment to quality content is stronger than ever. We are just changing the platform for distribution two days per week," Morris said.

The Times also announced it will discontinue the free distribution publication Lanier Life at the end of November.

"We are making some big changes and ask our readers and advertising partners to be patient as we work through the hundreds of details. We plan to be as transparent as possible with all of our customers as we go through this process. This is the community's most established and credible news source; those we serve in all capacities deserve to know what is going on with 'their' newspaper," said Morris.

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